This lecture aims to provide a short history of the tractor in Japan, in comparison to the USA, Soviet Russia, Germany, and other countries. Since the 1896 debut in the USA of this now common agricultural machine, the tractor has played a significant role in changing agriculture around the world. Tractors not only changed farmers into scientists and engineers in their fields, but also moved agricultural laborers to urban industrial plants and enabled a huge agricultural surplus, which eventually led to the Great Depression in 1929.
In the case of Japan, the “experience” of the tractor was quite different. Compared to the fields in Western countries, the wetter and smaller paddy fields in Japan (and some other Asian countries) were a significant natural obstacle to the machine: before WWII, tractors were not prevalent in Japan, even in colonial areas. However, during the 1960s, walking-type tractors started to become widespread throughout Japan, and in the 1970s, the common riding-type tractor also appeared in Japan’s paddy fields.
In this lecture, he will explore differences between the history of tractors in Western countries compared to Japan.
Tatsushi Fujihara (Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University)
“The ‘Iron Horses’ that changed the History of Mankind? A History of Tractors in Modern Japan”
Dr. Daniel Münster (Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in Global Context”, Heidelberg University)
Registration & Contact
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Kyoto University European Centre Heidelberg Office
Prof. Tatsushi Fujihara
Associate Professor at the Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University
Areas of Research: History of Agriculture
Graduation from the Faculty of Integrated Human Studies, Kyoto University. After leaving the Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies in 2002 he became an Assistant at the Institute for Humanities. Before being appointed to his current position he was a lecturer at the Tokyo University Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Science (Faculty of Agriculture).
Dr. Daniel Münster
Areas of Research: South Asia, Agrarian Environments, Political Economy, Global Food Regimes, Science and Technology, Social Theory
Graduation from Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich (2005). Research stays in Mexico City (ENAH), and, as a Fulbright scholar, in Lexington (University of Kentucky). Extensive ethnographic fieldwork in rural Tamil Nadu and Kerala (South India). Before being appointed to his current position in 2013 lecturer for social anthropology at Bielefeld University (2005-2007) and Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (2007-2013).
* The lecture series “Nichi-Doku Joint Lecture” is organized in close cooperation of the Kyoto University European Center, Heidelberg Office, and the Heidelberg University Office, Kyoto, the liaison offices of both universities in Japan and Germany. It aims at promoting and strengthening research exchange between Heidelberg University and Kyoto University.